Scientific Name: Regina septemvittata
Size: 13.4 – 36.3” (adult total length)
Status: In decline in many areas due to habitat degradation. Michigan State Status: Special Concern; MDNR Wildlife Action Plan Status: Species of Greatest Conservation Need
Prefer shallow warm streams that are rocky-bottomed and inhabited by crayfish. Also occupy pond, lake, marsh, ditch, and canal edges. Generally avoid completely shaded sites but will inhabit areas with open to moderately closed canopy.
Brown, olive, or gray background color with light yellow stripe on each side that continue onto labial scales (along the mouth) and join together on the bottom of the rostral (nose) scale. Some adults retain three dark dorsal stripes typically seen in juveniles. Older individuals may become nearly uniformly dark. Throat, chin, and belly are yellow. Belly with four brown stripes that fuse or fade toward the tail.
Small-headed slender snake with keeled (ridged) scales and a divided anal plate (sits just above cloaca).
Range from 6.9 – 9” in length; coloration similar to adult, but markings, especially stripes on belly, are more conspicuous.
19 scale rows at midbody
Species Confused With:
Garter and Ribbon Snakes are similar in size and have keeled scales but these have an unstriped belly, a light central dorsal stripe, and an undivided anal plate.
- Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region by Jim Harding
- Harding, J.H. and J.A. Holman. 2006. Michigan Snakes. MSU Extension Ext. Bulletin E-2000,74 pp. [revised].
- Ruthven, A. G., H. B. T. Gaige, et al. 1912. The herpetology of Michigan, by Alexander B. Ruthven. Crystal Thompson and Helen Thompson; Memoranda towards a bibliography of the archaeology of Michigan, by Harlan I. Smith; prepared under the direction of Alexander G. Ruthven. Lansing, Mich., Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford, State Printers.
- Holman, J. A. 2012. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan: A Quaternary and Recent Faunal Adventure. Detroit, Mich., Wayne State University Press.
- Conant, R., and Collins, J. T. 1998. Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern, Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Press.